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Halloween Cake Decorating: Making a Simple Striped Halloween Cake

The colors of Halloween are black and orange, and whether you prefer grinning jack-o’-lanterns or haunting ghosts when you’re planning your holiday decorations, the odds are good that you will be incorporating generous quantities of both black and orange accessories.

If you want to bake a Halloween dessert that will really pop, it should definitely include both colors in the icing, and you can’t get much more dramatic than this black and orange striped cake design. It’s bold, it’s fun and, more importantly, it is easy to make.

Halloween is creeping up… Here’s how to make a black and orange cake to kick off your spooktacular celebrations!

Halloween Cake Decorating: Simple Striped Halloween Cake
Photos by Nicole Weston of Baking Bites

Step 1:

Start out with your favorite cake recipe and a double batch of frosting. This can be a simple American-style buttercream made with butter, milk and confectioner’s sugar or Swiss Meringue Buttercream.

You’re going to need a generous amount of both black and orange food coloring. I recommend using gel food colorings because you will get a more intense color than you will with liquid colorings. You are also going to need an offset spatula and, if you have one, a cake turntable.

Equipment for Making a Black and Orange Striped Halloween Cake

Step 2:

Divide your frosting into three bowls. Leave about one third of the frosting white. This will be used for a crumb coat. I also used it to hold the layers of the cake together, however you can use black and orange for the filling layers if you want to add an extra pop of color. Color about one quarter of the frosting black. Color the remaining frosting orange. Be generous with the food coloring because you want the colors to be vibrant!

Step 3:

Using your white icing, spread a thin layer over the entire cake. This is the “crumb coat” and the purpose of it is to trap any lose crumbs from the surface of the cake, so that your top layer of icing will be perfectly clean. This layer does not need to be neat, but it does need to cover the entire cake. Let the crumb coat set in the refrigerator for about 15 minutes after applying it.

A Crumb-Coated Cake, ready for frosting

Step 4:

Now, you’re ready to add some color to your cake! Starting with black, spread a thick band of icing around the bottom of the cake. It doesn’t need to be perfectly neat or even. You will even out the edges of the stripes at the end.

The first stripe of the cake is piped on

Step 5:

Spread a thick layer of orange icing directly above the black stripe. Again, neatness doesn’t matter. You do, however, want to try to get your stripes to be approximately the same thickness. Use the same technique to apply the next two stripes in black and orange. Cover the top of the cake with orange icing, making sure that all of the white base coat is covered.

Black and Orange Striped Cake, coming together
Black and Orange Striped Cake, coming together
Black and Orange Striped Cake, ready for finishing touches!

Step 6:

Now that all of your frosting is in place, turn your offset spatula so that it is perpendicular to the countertop and press one edge gently up against the side of the cake. Spin your turntable slowly while holding the spatula in place, and the frosting will start to smooth itself out as you turn. Wipe off the edge of the spatula and repeat as needed, until the sides of the cake are even and relatively smooth. Gently smooth out the top of the cake, too.

Beautiful Black and Orange Striped Halloween CakeThe finished cake should have stripes that flow seamlessly into one another, but it should have a little bit of texture to the top and sides that make it look homemade.

Not-So-Basic Buttercream Decorating Ideas

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